Finansdepartementet – Sweden’s Ministry of Finance – has recommended that the government apply a ban on credit card transactions across all gambling segments.
The recommendation was made as part of the Ministry’s investigation into “Enhanced consumer protections against risky lending and over-indebtedness”.
A primary assignment for 2023, the Ministry drafted a 650-page report on the current consumer credit facilities available to Swedish consumers and the protections offered by the market since 2021.
The report primarily focused on investigating interest rate caps, setup fees, and penalty charges offered by all credit loan services, excluding housing loans.
“Today, debts at the Swedish Enforcement Authority amount to 101 billion kronor (+ €9bn), while debts at collection agencies amount to just over 102 billion kronor. These are historically high figures,” the report’s foreword cites.
Currently, Sweden’s Gaming Act (2018) prohibits using credit for most gambling segments. However, some licensed companies have managed to offer credit indirectly through third-party services, thereby circumventing the law.
Spelinspektionen – Sweden’s Gaming Inspectorate – has previously called for the law to be amended, stating that it works against the market principles for “licensees to contribute or encourage players to take loans to maintain their gambling spend”.
The report cites that under the Gaming Act, a ban on credit transactions was not applied to lottery and soft game operators which can allow customers to purchase products or services via a pre-debited invoice.
Furthermore, the Ministry upheld the observations of the Swedish “Gaming Market Investigation,” which identified the “continued practice of licensees offering gambling on credit in partnership with third-party credit services”.
Svenska Spel and Swedish Gambling trade associations BOS and SPER have accepted a ban on all credit card wagering as market protection to halt consumer indebtedness.
The Ministry concluded that any proposed changes to Sweden’s consumer credit laws would need to be voted on to become legally binding and obligatory for those conducting gambling operations in Sweden.